Jury Colonialism 1885 – 2018

“Indian-Hating” & “Massive Injustice of the Most Profound Kind”: Jury Colonialism Experienced by Indigenous People from Miserable Man (Kit-Ahwah-Ke-Ni), 1885 to Colton Boushie, 2018

NOTE: Sadly, the WordPress endnote function is not able to handle the author’s endnotes properly on this page, so I have pasted my notes for this paper in a separate PDF to permit access to the References Cited & Endnotes. I am, therefore, unable to link endnote numbers to the text of the note.  My Endnote numbers are shown here in bolded square brackets with Arabic numerals e.g, [33]. The separate PDF also has all the References Cited to avoid the need to scroll down through this document to consult them. This lengthy piece may be skimmed by attending to the bold text.

Epigraph in Volume 1 of the Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba:[1]

Ovide Mercredi, Berens River[2]

In law, with law, and through law, Canada has imposed a colonial system of government and justice upon our people without due regard for our treaty and Aboriginal rights. We respect law that is fair and just, but we cannot be faulted for denouncing those laws that degrade our humanity and rights as distinct peoples” (Associate Chief Justice Alvin Hamilton & Associate Chief Judge C. Murray Sinclair 1991: 1).

Jury of Riel McCord

Figure 1. Riel’s Jury, North West Rebellion, Regina, SK, 1885 photograph by Oliver B. Buell. McCord Museum MP-1993.6.2.16 http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/collection/artifacts/MP-1993.6.2.16 .


The above image represents all the juries in trials involving Indigenous people—both as the victims & as defendants in court proceedings—discussed in this article (for which no other jury photos relating to the 1885 cases have been located by the author). The panel deciding the verdict in Louis Riel’s 1885 high treason trial after the second Métis Resistance that was aimed at achieving the rights of British citizens for his people included none of his “peers.” The jury pictured above composed of only white settlers convicted Louis Riel &, although mercy was recommended,[3] he was sentenced to death by hanging carried out on 16 November 1885 in Regina, SK, Canada. The Métis leader Louis Riel’s trial—being already well documented (e.g. Goulet 1999)—is beyond the scope of this paper that, in part, provides analysis of historic cases relating to First Nations individuals tried for murder or treason-felony for their roles in the Métis Resistance of 1885. In Canada, the term First Nations includes “status Indians” as well as “non-status Indians” colonialised[4] under the Canadian federal Indian Act. In 1885, eight First Nations men were tried for murder without legal counsel, convicted by white settler juries, & sentenced to death by hanging in the largest mass execution in Canadian history on 27 November 1885. As discussed below, the absence of Indigenous people on juries is an injustice that continues in Canada to the present day.

Impetus for this Article:

Colton Boushie, a young Cree man from the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot to death at a Saskatchewan farm owned by a white settler, Gerald Stanley, on 9 August 2016. The incident resulted in Mr. Stanley being charged with second-degree murder. On 9 February 2018, the accused was “acquitted by a jury apparently selected to exclude people who appeared to be Indigenous” (Richards 2018; cf. Warick 2018). On 7 March 2018, the Saskatchewan Attorney General’s office declared that there would be no appeal, citing the Criminal Code of Canada disallowing appeal for any reason other than legal error (Charles Hamilton 2018).[5]

In this article, I reflect on the flurry of responses to the above not guilty verdict & the means by which it was reached, specifically concerning the incidence of “jury-packing” defined as “the practice of contriving that the majority of those chosen for a jury will be persons likely to have partialities affecting a particular case (term originated 1865-1870)”[6] in trials involving Indigenous persons. My main purpose, however, is to examine some of its historical precedents. I believe this background is crucial given that for the most part—with a notable exception of Brown (2018)—some of the immediate statements by non-Indigenous commentators on the widely circulated news about the Stanley case & its outcome seem to have been made in an historical vacuum.

Many of the non-indigenous social media comments associated with the Stanley second-degree murder trial can be classified as “Indian-hating” following Richard  Drinnon’s (1980) extensive classic work Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building. Drinnon equates Indian-hating with Western racism & “projections of evil heaped upon them by whites” (Drinnon 1980: xvi, 467, passim). See the following discussion under the 2 Immediate Reactions sections as well as the 1885 Jury Colonialism section below.

Canadian jury system colonialism that destructively affects Indigenous people has arisen from the selection process and eventual makeup of juries. It is a problem that has been identified many times in the past (Brown 2018; Iacobucci 2013; Ruden[7] et al. 1996; Hamilton & Sinclair 1991). The abject failure of the Canadian government to correct blatant deficiencies in the jury selection system—to say nothing about the whole of the justice system’s perfidious dealings with Indigenous peoples—is shameful because it patently has allowed & continues to permit racism to flourish in a legal system that arguably remains colonialist in its treatment of Indigenous people in Canada. See the History of Late 20th Century section below.

Blake Brown, Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University & author of A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth-Century Canada comments on the crucial significance of the clash over jury composition in the 2018 Stanley case:

. . . in part, because of the long history of bias against First Nations people in the courts, and in part because jury selection has often been a heated issue when jurors deliver verdicts in cases steeped in racial, ethnic, political, and/or religious tensions. Allegations of ‘jury packing’ have been common in such cases. The lack of Indigenous jurors in many courtrooms in Canada is the most recent, and perhaps the most troubling, example of this historic problem (Brown 2018) [emphasis added].

For the record, your blogger, Paul C. Thistle, is a descendant of white settlers in southwestern Ontario, Canada that is the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. Despite this heritage, I remain convinced that colonialism & racism—to say nothing of “Indian-hating”—remain forces that demonstrably still confront & must be resisted every day by Indigenous people. This occurs because of continuing denials by even well-educated Canadians[8] that colonialism ever existed, that it remains alive & well in Canada, & (as we shall see in the Non-Indigenous Responses section below) that changes to the jury system are necessary in order to remove tenacious racism that continues to operate in the selection of jury panels in Canada.

Immediate Reactions by Indigenous People (duplicated innumerable times in the past):

Among the many problems in the justice system’s handling of the Stanley second-degree murder case in question identified by the deceased Colten Boushie Family:

The jury in the Stanley trial appeared to contain no visibly Indigenous people. During jury selection, the defence team used so-called peremptory challenges to exclude five potential jurors who looked like they might have Indigenous background. In Canada, lawyers don’t have to give reasons for excluding jury candidates (Warick 2018; cf. Richards 2018) [emphasis added].

See the description of “Peremptory Challenges” used to automatically exclude potential jurors without need for stating reasons in Hamilton & Sinclair (1991: 381).

Other Indigenous responses to the Stanley trial decision heard soon after the verdict on the CBC Radio One programme Unreserved for 18 February 2018 (CBC Radio 2018) include:

  • “Canada never fails to disappoint;” “our community had yet another reason to not believe in change;” [until the speaker[9] was shamed by Indigenous youths who] “talked about some of their ‘uncles failing us’ and that’s been hard for me to hear because I’ve been very hopeful person for a long time” by University of Manitoba Native Studies Prof. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair, Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) who reported his . . .
  • “Native Studies students crying openly & expressing feelings of fear”
  • “anger but not surprise;” [acquittal seen as] “the eternal truth of Canada;” “more angry than hopeful;” “allies need to be outraged [along] with us” by CBC Radio Unreserved columnist, Jesse Wente, self-described ‘Ojibwe dude’
  • “found immediate vile trolls after verdict . . . gleeful & gloating;” “abuse & violence thrown at Indigenous people is constant in all physical & social media for all reasons . . . always find new manifestation of racism. . . [saying] Colton deserved to die” by Jessica Johns, Cree from Sucker Creek First Nation & Elaine Cordon writer & settler who helped start #settlercollector,[10] a ‘draw troll fire exercise’ carried out by settler allies of Indigenous people
  • “shouldn’t be just Indigenous people alone fighting this . . . want more settler allies saying what needs to be said;” “moving forward involves anger, sadness, rage, getting out on the street & protesting;” “want to see settlers solidarity standing with Indigenous people” by Erica Violet Lee, Cree activist with close ties to the Boushie family
  • “tears of burning rage;” “must be equipping my children to deal with racism;” “reconciliation on the shelf . . . too heartbroken to talk about it;”[11] [but] “organising Justice for Colton 101 event . . . it sounds like I am taking it [reconciliation] up again. I have to do this. I have an obligation to do this” by Tania Cameron, Dalles First Nation, Kenora, ON
  • “lot of anger with youth & adults . . . lot of racism on immigrants too” “scares me what the future holds;” “times are going to get harder;” “you are going to fall, but you need to stand up again; don’t stay there, get up;” “nobody’s different we are all the same, all we have to do is respect ourselves and each other;” “violence will make it worse;” “racism has to stop somewhere” by elder Eliza Beardy, Oji-Cree from Wasagamack, MB (CBC Radio 2018) [emphasis added].

Young Indigenous people also have spoken out as reported in the Toronto Star newspaper by Malone (2018):

 “I am nervous for all of my relatives who are wrapped up in a justice system that doesn’t know what that word means” by Michael Redhead Champagne, 30, an organizer with Aboriginal Youth Opportunities in Winnipeg.

the verdict highlights the “systemic racism that is pervading the Canadian justice system.” The Canadian Roots Exchange, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth dedicated to reconciliation, posted a statement saying “racism, colonialism, and white supremacy continue to thrive.”

[Champagne also said] it’s hard to have faith in a justice system that ignores countless reports and recommendations, including the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry from 1991, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples from 1996 and calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Malone 2018) [emphasis added].

Immediate Reactions by Some Non-Indigenous People:

Canadian opinions on the trial acquittal in question are polarised & this regionally so. Respected polling firm Angus Reid reports that, of those in Saskatchewan—the Canadian province where the trial in question occurred—who were aware of the decision, a large majority of 63% of respondents believe the jury’s decision was fair, 17% believe it was wrong, & 21% are undecided. This compares to results across Canada as a whole finding that 30% of respondents believe the jury’s decision was fair, 32% believe it was wrong, while 38% are unsure [figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding] (Giles 2018). Coincidentally, the 2018 Stanley trial and those that resulted in the 1885 trials & executions of 8 Indigenous men—the largest mass hanging ever in Canadian history—happened in Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada. For an overview of the latter cases, see the 1885 Jury Colonialism section below.

Further to the concerns about racist social media trolls identified above (CBC Radio (2018), Brenda Macdougall (2016), chair in Métis research, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, identified a racist element of settler response starting back in 2016 with the news that the young Cree man Colton Boushie had been shot to death on the Stanley farm. To Macdougall, this type of response is “the narrative of white victimhood” & she asserts the need for an historical perspective on “colonial oppression justifying individual, institutional or structural racism” (cf. Drinnon 1980).

What was strike [sic; i.e. striking] about racist and derogatory comments made after Mr. Boushie’s death was that they weren’t made privately at the supper table with family or while having a coffee among close friends, but instead were posted publicly, online and in social media. Those making such comments apparently feel comfortable sharing their views this way.

. . . posts about the Boushie case, such as: “Time to go all cowboy and Indian on these useless leeches in society that live off of everyone else,” . . . The vile comments made in the Boushie case, and others, betray a sense that the writers can no longer count on the structures of the state to support them economically, politically and socially; as their privilege diminishes, they respond with racist and sexist hatred, while proclaiming their own victimization (Macdougall 2016: 17; cf. Drinnon 1980) [emphasis added].[12]

Macdougall concluded:

We need to have an honest conversation about violence rooted in white anxieties and the fears white people have about having to fairly compete with aboriginal people. As long as we valorize a settler mythology instead of actually knowing our history, we will remain incapable of dealing with the type of violent discourse that validates the death of a young indigenous man (Macdougall 2016: 17) [emphasis added].

One particular non-Indigenous reaction stimulated me directly to write on this subject. An opinion piece in the 20 February 2018 Toronto Globe & Mail by a lawyer commenting on the Stanley trial acquittal & the resulting criticism of the jury selection system in Canada appeared under a headline that reads: “There’s no need for criticism. Canada’s jury system works.” This was written by Victoria, BC, Canada lawyer Charles Lugosi. He stated: “We need to reject cheap overtures from self-interested persons for reform when no reform is needed” (Lugosi 2018: A13) [emphasis added].

For me, as a non-lawyer observer, this opinion reveals shocking ignorance of the historical context of jury selection in cases involving Indigenous victims & defendants—to say nothing about the witness of observers attending the Stanley trial jury selection process (Warick 2018; Richards 2018).

It should be noted here that, contrary to Lugosi, the Canadian Council of Criminal Defense Lawyers in a letter concerning  improper interference in judicial issues by politicians written to Canada’s Prime Minister[13] at least admitted “there are legitimate reasons for concern for Indigenous people” (Fine 2018) [emphasis added].

I do accept Lugosi’s arguments concerning the role of presumption of innocence & reasonable doubt in the discussion. However, his insistence on the “rule of law” as inviolable is disingenuous because, as I understand in some cases, the law can be an “ass.” Lugosi slips too easily over the main thrust of the problem, i.e. Canada’s current law on jury selection allows peremptory challenges without the need for stating any reason.

In Britain—the source of Canada’s legal system (except in the province of Quebec)—because of its abuse there, “the right of peremptory challenge was abolished altogether by the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which saw it as a derogation from the principle of random selection, and felt that its removal would increase the fairness of the jury system.”[14] Does Mr. Lugosi maintain that no existing law need ever be changed? In light of a simple & straight-forward understanding of “justice,” I trust not.

We might possibly excuse lawyer Charles Lugosi (who practises in British Columbia), for making what I maintain is an uninformed public statement in a nationally syndicated opinion piece about no need for change in jury selection. I believe that, as an officer of the court,[15] he might have been expected to have read, or at least heard about, the relatively recent 2013 Ontario provincial judicial investigation First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries: Report of the Independent Review Conducted by The Honourable Frank Iacobucci. before presenting his case.

The definition of “officer of the Court” includes the phrase: “lawyers have an absolute ethical duty to tell judges [& I would add the public] the truth, including avoiding dishonesty or evasion . . .

Former Supreme Court Justice Iacobucci directly contradicts Lugosi & demonstrates Lugosi’s evasion—or failing this—ignorance (suggesting to me a deficient command of the legal literature on the question he editorialises upon). The 2013 Iacobucci judicial investigation found:

. . . systemic and procedural issues affecting the representation of First Nations peoples on the jury roll in Ontario. During all these meetings, one point was resoundingly clear: substantive and systemic changes to the criminal justice system are necessary & recommended (Iacobucci 2013: s.3. Findings 24. ff.) [emphasis added].

Yes, Mr. Lugosi, “substantive and systemic changes!” The next dozen findings by Iacobucci on injustices perpetrated by the jury system in its dealings with Indigenous people also warrant study by Lugosi & other ‘heads-in-a-hole deniers’[16] of the need for change in Canada’s jury selection system.

Reducing the jury selection process that fails Indigenous people to its nub, Justice Iacobucci advised the Ontario Government to recommend . . .

to the Attorney General of Canada an amendment to the Criminal Code that would prevent the use of peremptory challenges to discriminate against First Nations people serving on juries (Iacobucci 2013: Recommendation 15).

In my view, Lawyer Charles Lugosi clearly is not sufficiently cognisant of the problem to be editorialising on it in a national newspaper (cf. Winward 2018). In fact he is spreading misinformation & seems blind to the legal literature on the question. This is especially so given the somewhat more distant history outlined in the next section. It therefore becomes abundantly clear that an accurate historical context is crucial for the 2018 debate on jury selection in the Stanley second-degree murder case.

History of Juries Failing Indigenous Peoples from the Late 20th Century:

It is extremely disappointing that, in 2018, commentators on the justice system’s treatment of Indigenous people apparently have not read or heard about the previous authoritative judicial reviews of the jury system & Indigenous people published in the 1990s. Beyond Iacobucci (2013), these include the all-important Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba (AJI) (Hamilton & Sinclair 1991) & the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People’s Report on Aboriginal People and Criminal Justice in Canada (RCAP) (Ruden et al. 1996)—to say nothing about R. Blake Brown, Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University & author of A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Brown 2009; cf. Brown 2018).

Immediately following Ovide Mercredi’s epigraph that opened this article, the first sentence in the report of the 1991 Manitoba Public Inquiry states: The justice system has failed Manitoba’s Aboriginal people on a massive scale. It continues:

. . . justice also has been denied to them. For more than a century the rights of aboriginal people have been ignored and eroded. The result of this denial has been injustice of the most profound kind.” [emphasis added] (Hamilton & Sinclair 1991:1).

“Injustice of the most profound kind” “on a massive scale.” How can this these statements of fact have been ignored over last 27 years since the AJI was published?

The more recent Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples’ review Aboriginal People and Criminal Justice in Canada stated “the evidence suggests that Aboriginal people are under-represented as jurors, in stark contrast to their over-representation as accused persons” (Ruden et al. 1996:205). It explains why jury panels have not included a high proportion of Aboriginals:

This is a function of provincial Juries Acts and the restricted nature of challenges to jury panels which are now available under s. 629 [of the Criminal Code], Judicial decisions seem to have continued this restrictive analysis of jury selection, in saying that the absence of members of a particular race does not constitute proof of discrimination. Canadian courts are simply reluctant to admit that the racial or cultural features of a jury would in any way be capable of affecting the outcome (Ruden et al. 1996: 206) [emphasis added].

Nearly 30 years ago, Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Inquiry had provided the necessary historical analysis for lawyers writing opinion pieces & other interested citizens forming their thoughts on the matter. In “The Exclusion of Aboriginal People from Juries” section, the extensive AJI research carried out in 1988-1991 showed that exclusion of Indigenous people from juries has continued since the 1880s right up to the present:

. . . the jury system in Manitoba is a glaring example of systematic discrimination against Aboriginal people. Studies conducted for our Inquiry confirm that Aboriginal people are significantly under-represented on juries in northern Manitoba and are almost completely absent from juries in the city of Winnipeg. . .

Our studies clearly show that Aboriginal people are not properly represented on juries, even on juries trying an Aboriginal person accused of committing an offence against another Aboriginal person in an Aboriginal community . . . (Hamilton & Sinclair 1991: 378-9).

The AJI chapter 17 “A Strategy for Action” in the section on Juries states something to which Mr. Lugosi & his ilk need to pay attention:

Systemic discrimination is clearly seen in the jury selection process. The right and responsibility of Aboriginal citizens to sit on a jury should be ensured by legislative and administrative change. The ease with which Aboriginal people can be excluded from the jury selection process should be stopped [emphasis added. Mr. Lugosi, please pay attention!]. . .

Action to be Taken by the Federal Government: [emphasis in original]

Amend the Criminal Code to do away with stand-asides and peremptory Challenges, to provide that only challenges for cause, dealing with the impartiality of the juror, be permitted, and that the trial judge be the one to rule on any challenge (Hamilton & Sinclair 1991: 656) [emphasis added].

Although it certainly is a widely respected study on Indigenous justice issues, the impact of the AJI on the Canadian judicial system has been shamefully slight at best. John Borrows, who is among Canada’s leading scholars on indigenous legal traditions & a law professor at the University of Victoria has stated:

The report was a very thoughtful piece of work based on wide consultations and sound legal analysis. Unfortunately, the report has not been acted upon in any substantial way. (Welch 2013) [emphasis added].

In light of the findings of investigations by Iacobucci (2013), Blake (2009), Ruden et al. (1996), & Hamilton & Sinclair (1991), the “massive scale” of ”injustice of the most profound kind” experienced by Indigenous people involved in—or excluded from—the Canadian jury system is evidence-based & uncontestable. Therefore, a strong case can be made to Mr. Lugosi and others that jury system reform is indeed absolutely necessary. Only colonialism & racism/”Indian-hating” in Canada can explain the longevity of this injustice, as will be further demonstrated below.


The author’s first assay into this history of “Indian-hating,” colonialism, & discrimination of white settlers in western Canada related to the Resistance of First Nations peoples to settler colonialism associated with the related struggle of the Métis led by Louis Riel in the District of Saskatchewan, Canada in 1885 (Thistle 1972).[17]

That essay served as the foundation for a subsequent paper, “The Trials of the Indian Participants in the North-West Rebellion of 1885” (Thistle 1973). Using transcripts of the trials located in the 1886 Dominion of Canada Sessional Papers & the literature available at the time, I summarised the background of settler attitudes toward Indigenous people, & federal government malfeasance resulting in the Resistance by First Nations. There were miscarriages of justice, much prejudiced language evidenced, & racism enacted during the trials of several of the First Nations individuals. It also identified the association between racism against Indigenous peoples & Canada’s “Indian-hating” colonialization project that was directly related to white settler empire-building. This concept was later demonstrated conclusively by Drinnon (1980). Links to the full texts of both of the above as well as a third related paper (Thistle 1978) appear in the References Cited section of this article. The following narrative is based on these papers, the AJI, & RCAP judicial reviews carried out in the 1990s, as well as additional recent research.

Jury Colonialism Imposed on Indigenous People, 1885:

Miserable Man Etc Surrender Battleford

Figure 2. Miserable Man surrendering, Battleford, Northwest Territory, Canada. Photographer James Peters (1853-1927). Frederic Hatheway Peters fonds / Library and Archives Canada / e011156623_s3-v8 ; C-004864 MIKAN no. 3406940 (2) [those pictured have not been individually named. The jurisdiction at the time should read the District of Saskatchewan.]  http://data2.archives.ca/e/e440/e010999549-v8.jpg. Information Page:  http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&rec_nbr=3260668&lang=eng .

It is not really surprising that Indigenous people were unjustly treated by the Canadian legal system after the Resistance of 1885 was quelled by military force. It is blatantly obvious that Canadian government policy & white settler sentiments were founded on the racist ideation of Indigenous “savagery.” This ideology was anchored in the belief that Indigenous peoples actually were not capable of holding human rights (Thistle 1973: 1). Drinnon (1980: xvi, 467, passim) explains the term “Indian-hating” used in the title of this paper. It is founded on the belief & application of resulting policy that Indigenous people are “nonpersons.” Basing his study on the United States, Indochina, & the Philippines, Drinnon describes “Indian-hating:” “that doctrinal hate rested on the collective refusal to conceive of Native Americans as human” (Drinnon 1980: 463).

There is a long parallel history of equivalent prejudice, discrimination, & racism in the colonial history of Canada (cf. Hamilton & Sinclair 1991: 54-83; Thistle 1973: 3-6, 15). This ongoing “Indian-hating” that continues in Canada in 2018 is clearly evidenced in the Immediate Reactions section above (Macdougall 2016: 17; CBC Radio 2018).

Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Alvin Hamilton & Associate Chief Judge C. Murray Sinclair determined from the extensive research carried out for their Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba that Indigenous people were excluded from juries from the beginning. At the time of the 1885 Resistance & its subsequent legal proceedings, the AJI indicates that lists of potential jury members never contained any Indigenous candidates because the voters lists, that served as the source of the day, were not legally able to even consider them as candidates for jury duty until 1952 when status Indians were given the right to vote in Manitoba provincial elections [but not until 1960 for federal elections]. Even then, First Nation governments were not obliged to submit relevant lists until 1971, & subsequently a variety of other obstacles prevented proper representation of Indigenous people on potential jurors lists. This under-representation on juries continues to this day (Hamilton & Sinclair 1991: 378-9 ff.) as the selection of the 2018 Stanley trial jury demonstrated again.

The AJI Commissioners concluded:

From its inception, the legal system in Manitoba has systematically excluded Aboriginal people from juries . . . the legal system made it clear that it did not want or need Aboriginal jurors. It is a message Aboriginal people have not forgotten (Hamilton & Sinclair 1991: 379) [emphasis added].

Jury of Riel Jefferies Sketch (2) CROP

Figure 3. [3 of 6 on the] Jury at Louis Riel’s Trial, July 1885. Sketch by Charles William Jefferies (1869-1951). Library and Archives Canada MIKAN no. 2900024 (1), [here a partial detail of] photograph by Oliver B. Buell.  http://data2.archives.ca/e/e440/e010999549-v8.jpg .

The absence of Indians and Métis panelists—or even white settler Francophones in the trial of French Métis leader Louis Riel for example—on the juries deciding the fate of Indigenous defendants  in 1885 seem to abrogate the basic right of trial by one’s peers under the British legal tradition in Canada (Thistle1973:7). Why has jury packing to exclude Indigenous people been able to continue through 2018? Brown (2018) notes that reform of jury packing that served to exclude Catholics from juries occurred in Upper Canada as early as 1850.

Cree warrior Miserable Man (Kit-Ahwah-Ke-Ni) in the title of this article was part of the many disaffected First Nations people joining the famous influential & independent-minded Cree head man Big Bear in 1885. Miserable Man (Kit-Ahwah-Ke-Ni) was among the 8 Indigenous men charged with murder rather than the non-capital offense of treason-felony brought against 8 other First Nations participants (Thistle 1973: 7, 9). Canadian Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, who also was Minister of Indian Affairs at the time, “knowing that Treason-Felony was a non-capital offence, personally ordered that the eight should be tried on charges of murder” (Ogg 2015). This was done so as to arrange for execution upon conviction rather than allowing the application of jail term penalties set out for treason-felony.

Miserable Man (Kit-Ahwah-Ke-Ni) was charged with murder, tried without benefit of legal representation in a language the defendant did not understand (Thistle 1973: 7), judged by a white settler jury, & executed in Battleford by the white settler state. This execution of those known as the “Battleford 8” turned out to be Canada’s largest ever mass hanging on 27 November 1885.

Subsequent to my original research mentioned above, it has come to light that highly-respected historian Sylvia Van Kirk implies perjury played a role in this conviction. The 2 co-accused in this particular trial . . .

pleaded not guilty, and Miserable Man asked [Hudson’s Bay Company clerk William Bleasdell] Cameron to back his alibi that he had been in the HBC store at the time of the murder. Cameron, however, who loathed Miserable Man, had already helped secure for the crown testimony of Indian witnesses claiming that Wandering Spirit had ordered Bad Arrow to shoot Gouin and that Miserable Man had also shot him. (Van Kirk 2003; but cf. Beal & Macleod 1984: 198, 333).

With regard to the role of racism/Indian-hating in 1885 Saskatchewan, the closing address of the white settler defense counsel Beverly Robertson in the case R. v. White Cap (an American Dakota leader) who was the only First Nation defendant among those brought to trial to be acquitted follows:

Since the conviction of the Big Bear [Cree leader unjustly convicted of treason-felony & sentenced to 3 years (Thistle 1973: 13; Thistle 1972: 9-15)], I have felt that it is almost a hopeless task to attempt to obtain from a jury in Regina a fair consideration of the case of an Indian. It has seemed to me that it is only necessary to say in this town to a jury, there is an Indian, and we will put him on the dock to convict him (Dominion of Canada. 1886. Sessional Papers v. 13 # 52 p. 51; Thistle 1972: 10) [emphasis added].

The influential Cree chief Big Bear—due to his “troublesome” resistance to the signing of a treaty—also was convicted despite evidence presented concerning his absence at the actions leading to the charges & on account of prevailing prejudice (Thistle 1973: 11-13). Similar defence criticism of racial bias among all witnesses in the R. v. Poundmaker trial was insufficient to prevent the Poundmaker verdict guilty as charged with treason-felony (Thistle 1973: 14; Thistle 1972: 17-20).

Big Bear Poundmaker et al NWMP Baracks 1885

Figure 4. [Big Bear & Poundmaker (possibly  after trial?)] Group of nine taken in the square of the North-West Mounted Police Barracks, at Regina. 1885. [49 KB, 640 X 356. Information page at http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem&rec_nbr=3260668&lang=eng . The Handbook of North American Indians: History of Indian-White Relations, Vol. 4: 92 provides the names of those pictured. Back Row: Constable Black, RNWMP; Rev. Louis Cochin; Captain Deone; Rev. Alexis Andre, Beverly Robertson [counsel for the defence]  Front: Horse Child, son of Big Bear; Big Bear; A.D. Stewart; Poundmaker. More details on p. 92 of this source.

Beyond evidence of prejudice among the judges presiding at the trials of other Indigenous defendants (Thistle 1973: 6, 7)—shown for example in the admission of hearsay evidence despite protests by defence counsel—there also was criticism of the judge presiding at the murder trials of the 8 Indigenous men in Battleford (Thistle 1973: 6-7).


Figure 5. Article from the Saskatchewan Herald, December 14th, 1885. University of Saskatchewan Library [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Information Page: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battleford_Hangings_-_Bias_of_the_Judge,_Article_from_the_Saskatchewan_Herald,_December_14th,_1885.jpg .

Even the white settler Saskatchewan Herald reported at the time that presiding Stipendiary Magistrate Charles-Borromée Rouleau of Battleford was being accused of bias against the Indigenous defendants. The above newspaper reported on 14 December 1885 that, previous to the 1885 murder trials, Rouleau had . . .

threatened that every Indian and Half-breed and rebel brought before him after the insurrection was suppressed, would be sent to the gallows if possible. In view of all the circumstances, and particularly as Judge Rouleau was a heavy loser pecuniarily by the Indian outbreak at Battleford, it is contended that he should not have been allowed to preside at the trial of the prisoners (Wikimedia Commons 2017) [emphasis added].

Apart from problems of prejudice & discrimination, the murder trials occurred without the benefit of legal counsel for the defendants accused of murder (Thistle 1973:7, 9, 10-11). Absent legal counsel for example, some defendants in these trials gave self-incriminating evidence. It must be noted that the acceptance of incriminating evidence from Indigenous witnesses in these cases contrasted sharply with the discounting of exonerating evidence given by Indigenous witnesses in the treason-felony trials (Thistle 1973: 10-11). The interpretation of modern Indigenous people concerning the subsequent convictions & death sentences is that “The hanging was as good as done before the trial even began” (Ogg 2015).

Justice can hardly “be seen to be done” in many of the treason-felony trials as well. The Dominion of Canada Sessional Papers reveal that the defence duty counsel appointed was not present in one case. In other cases when defence counsel was present, no evidence for the defence,  nor final addresses to the jury were given (Thistle 1973: 7, 11). In the murder cases . . .

R. v. Wandering Spirit, R. v. Man Without Blood, & R. v. Ikta, guilty pleas were entered and the accused were summarily sentenced to death without the giving of evidence. That the government did not appoint legal counsel in the capital cases as it did in at least some of the less serious non-capital cases is a further blight on the record of the handling of the [murder trials. emphasis added] (Thistle 1973: 9).

An overview of the issues arising in all the trials of Indigenous defendants is given in Thistle (1973: 3-9) & additional details on particular cases can be found in Thistle (1973: 9-15).

Subsequent to the convictions, while writing to a colleague, Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald had no compunction in confessing:

“The execution of the Indians . . . ought to convince the Red Man that the White Man governs.” To enforce the point, the children attending the new residential school in Battleford were brought to the gallows to watch the prisoners die (Abley 2013) [emphasis added].

In 1972, the Saskatchewan Indian newspaper reflected on the executions:

The day the hangings took place all the Indian students at the Battleford Industrial School were taken out to witness the event. The reason for this was to remind them what would happen if one made trouble with the crown and to provide a lasting reminder of the white man’s power and authority [emphasis added] (Anonymous 1972; cf. Abley 2013).

Figure 5b. “Battleford Industrial School 1885 – Students assembled to watch hanging” located at Cree Literacy Network blog “An infamous anniversary: 130 years since Canada’s Largest Mass Hanging 27 November 1885” posted November 26, 2015 by Arden Ogg  at http://creeliteracy.org/2015/11/26/130th-anniversary-of-infamy-canadas-largest-mass-hanging-27-november-1885/ (accessed and added to this page on 10 December 2018).

Hanging Order pages 1 & 4

Figure 6. [Prime Minister John A. Macdonald & the Minister of Justice John Sparrow David Thompson were among those present on 2 November 1885 to execute the order to hang those convicted in Battleford.] Library and Archives Canada RG2, Privy Council Office, Series A-1-a. For Order in Council [1885-2077] see volume 473, Reel C-3376 Access Code 90. “Capital Case, 2 Indians, Manachoos, alias Arrow, and Kittinmakegin, alias Miserable Man, murder before Stipy [Stipendiary] Magistrate Rouleau Battleford – Min [Minister of] Justice, 1885/11/02, recs [recommends] Law be allowed to take its course 1885-11-02  http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/collectionsearch/Pages/collectionsearch.aspx?q=miserable+man+battleford [Left to right: attendance page 1 & page 4 showing the execution order].

All those Battleford 8 Indigenous men who were tried & condemned to death by hanging are named in the Saskatchewan Indian newspaper (Anonymous 1972):

  1. Kah-Paypamahchukways (Wandering Spirit) for the murder of T. T. Quinn, Indian Agent.
  2. Pah Pah-Me-Kee-Sick (Walking the Sky) for the murder of Pere Fafard, OMT, RC Priest who had fathered the boy as a youth.
  3. Manchoose (Bad Arrow) for the murder of Charles Govin, Quinn’s interpreter.
  4. Kit-Ahwah-Ke-Ni (Miserable Man) for the murder of Govin.
  5. Nahpase (Iron Body) for the murder of George Dill, Free Trader.
  6. A-Pis-Chas-Koos (Little Bear) for the murder of Dill.
  7. Itka (Crooked Leg) for the murder of Payne, Farm Instructor of the Stoney Reserve south of Battleford.
  8. Waywahnitch (Man Without Blood) for the murder of Tremont, Rancher out of Battleford.

As I near the end of this review of the historical context for the decision in the Gerald Stanley second-degree murder trial in 2018, I have a vague memory of seeing somewhere an informal rather rough pencil sketch of the Battleford 8 hanging scene showing the immediate aftermath of the trap door opening. Contemporary witness to the mass hanging, Charles Whitehead (Reg. #1577), a member of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, was detailed to supervise the public execution in Battleford on 27 November 1885 that he described in 1923 as follows:

The scaffold stood in the barrack square. The platform, 20 feet by 8 feet, 10 feet above the ground with railing enclosing the trap was reached by a stairway. From the beam hung 8 hempen ropes in readiness for the grim task. . . .

Hundreds of Indians from the many reserves surrounding Battleford were gathered to witness the execution [including all the residential school students], and I am sure very few of the surrounding settlers failed to be present. . .

Then all was ready. Black hoods were lowered; ropes adjusted, a deadly silence fell as Hodson stepped behind the line. The grating of iron; 8 bodies shot through the trap; and all was over. Some of the prairie’s greatest braves had passed to the land of their fathers (Whitehead 1923).

This was the 1885 colonialist project of Canada & Prime Minister Macdonald in Battleford as per his transparent statement quoted by Abley (2018) above. It was implemented—in part at least—by means of jury packing.

At time of writing, I cannot find the rough sketch that I can still see see in my mind’s eye. I would appreciate information from anyone who can provide a reference to this 1885 pencil sketch image.

In lieu of this missing image, I present the following poster created in 2017 on the occasion of Canada’s sesquicentennial. It is the result of the #decolonize & #resist150 movement (see Thistle 2017). It also quotes Prime Minister Macdonald’s above testimony about his “Indian-hating” colonialist intent.


Figure 7. Fort Battleford Hangings, November 1885. Canada 150 poster on the Battleford 8: [artist unknown at this time according to the source Warrior Publications https://warriorpublications.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/canada-150-battleford-hangings.jpg?w=604 . [Anyone having information on the artist, please provide credit details to the author.]

poster by James Smith showing First Nations people witnessing the mass hanging

Figure 7b. Another modern poster by James Smith as published in the book Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion by Blair Stonechild & Bill Waiser (1997) located at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DtCxa_MVAAIf4Hx.jpg (image accessed & added to this page on 10 December 2018).

A 1972 Saskatchewan Indian newspaper article “Hangings at Battleford” stated just above the -30- :

These hangings are a shame for all Canadians, not only for how they were carried out, but also for the shameful events that led up to the rebellion (Anonymous 1972) [emphasis added].


Figure 8. Grave of the Battleford Eight in Battleford marking the largest mass hanging in Canada, November 27, 1885, in the wake of the rebellion. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license CC BY-SA 4.0. Image information at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Tombstone_of_the_Battleford_Eight.jpg .


Indigenous people in Canada continue to this day to be affected by gross injustices imposed by Canada’s legal system that have been corroborated repeatedly. In the opinion of this observer, there exists an indefensible prima facie case for the abject failure of the white settler Canadian judicial system in its historic & continuing unjust treatment of Indigenous people in the jury selection process. Can no one hear the informed commentary, the considered judicial recommendations, or the anguished screaming for reform over the last 133 years?

Dalhousie University Law professor Brown (2018) remains pessimistic:

I suspect that piecemeal reform to this ancient instrument of ‘British justice’ will only mildly mitigate the harsh injustices experienced by Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system.

On the other hand, for 3 decades now, the British system of justice’s own “piecemeal reform” to jury selection procedures has operated without peremptory challenges. Isn’t justice delayed justice denied in Canada? Hamilton & Sinclair (1991) and others have conclusively demonstrated & championed the need for reforming jury selection. Brown seems to be evading the truth that perfection is a sworn enemy of the good. Canada simply needs to get on with doing good for Indigenous people!

As argued in this paper, jury colonialism & racism is not simply a recent problem for Indigenous people. After 133 years of injustice of the most profound kind on a massive scale, how can it not be time for corrective action NOW?


Murray Sinclair [former Commissioner of the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, later head of Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission, & now Canadian Senator] Facebook post:

Sinc Murr 10 February 2018

Today I grieve for my country.

I grieve for a family

that has seen only injustice

from the moment a farmer with a handgun

(why does a farmer need a handgun?)

killed their son.

I grieve for a mother

who saw the police raid her house

and treat her like a criminal

and not the victim she was.

I grieve for other mothers

with empty arms

who are reminded of their own loss

at the hands of others.

and the lack of answers that haunt them still

I grieve for the youth

who now see no hope,

and whose hunger for justice

gives rise to anger.

I grieve for the children

whose lives now have

one more jeopardy.

I grieve for the elders

who have seen this before.

And whose wisdom holds no means

to get through this evenly.

I may grieve for some time.

But then again…

we have been grieving a long time.

This is why

we can’t “just get over it and move on”.

My country won’t let me.

https://www.facebook.com/Sincmurr1951/ (cited by Quenneville 2018) [emphasis added].

Also please listen to a closely related Willie Dunn (1978) song “I Pity the Country” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOKB0p_LUrU that also laments white settler colonialism’s persisting damage to Indigenous peoples. This song is now 40 years old & only minor improvements to the impacts of Canadian colonialism on Indigenous peoples are manifest in 2018.

Breaking News, 26 March 2018:

CBC Radio One National News reported on Saturday through Monday 24-26 March 2018 that the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, intended to issue an apology for the pre-Canadian 1867 Confederation colonial government of British Columbia’s unjust hangings of 6 Chilcotin chiefs in 1864 & 1865. This occurred during the gold rush in BC.

The Chilcotin who were battling setters to defend their territory against unauthorised surveying of their land that remained under Chilcotin Aboriginal title (Cumming & Mickenberg 1972: 174, 185 passim). Many in the survey party were killed. The Chilcotin chiefs then were invited to a “peace conference,” arrested, tried, & hung. I was unable to find information on the CBC News web site, but the Canadian Press (2018) has posted a video of the apology given by Prime Minister Trudeau in the Canadian Parliament on Global News & it provides a brief summary. See further details about earlier apologies from the British Columbia Provincial Governments in 1993 & 2014 as well as the apology spoken in the Canadian Parliament by the Prime Minister for the wrongful execution & proclaiming the  exoneration of the chiefs by the Government of Canada  in Hopper (2018) & Tasker (2018a).

Update 2 November 2018:

The Tsilhqot’in people hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be cleansed on their territory near Chilko Lake, British Columbia. The people graciously heard this country’s apology made as successor to the British colonial government that deceived & executed 5 leaders in 1864 & another in 1865.  The Canadian Press report of the event states:

Trudeau said the colonial officials of the day erred in inviting the chiefs for peacekeeping talks where they were instead arrested, tried and hanged. He said the chiefs are fully exonerated without any wrongdoing . . .

“Those are mistakes that our government profoundly regrets and is determined to set right. The treatment of the Tsilhqot’in chiefs represents a betrayal of trust, an injustice that you have carried for more than 150 years . . .”

Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, said the apology was significant not only because it was the first time that a prime minister visited title lands, but because it was made directly to community members.

The Tsilhqot’in people acknowledged the end of a very long & difficult mental & spiritual journey. For the Tsilhqot’in, it was “a powerful day.”

[Citing: Smart, Amy. 2018. “Trudeau apologizes for 1864 hanging of chiefs.”  Canadian Press posted 2 November at https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/trudeau-apologizes-for-1864-hanging-of-chiefs/ar-BBPgUhB?li=AAggNb9&ocid=mailsignout ].

Breaking News 28 March 2018:

Canada’s Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybold, has tabled 300-page Bill C-75 in the House of Commons that, among other changes, purportedly will eliminate jury selection peremptory challenges without reason from the Criminal Code. The government argues “ending peremptory challenges will prevent Crown attorneys and defence lawyers alike from barring minority candidates from juries” (Tasker 2018b).

Immediately, some defence lawyers are protesting the move as “crassly political,” done “only because of the [Boushie] {sic} backlash” (Tasker 2018 b).  It should be noted here, however, that: i) Mr. “Boushie” caused no backlash. It was the jury selection process observed at the 2018 Stanley second-degree murder trial as the most recent of innumerable incidents of this kind that racialise jury makeups & ii) the lawyers quoted in the CBC News report fail to cite any evidence of problems arising for the judicial system in Britain, or elsewhere, where peremptory challenges have been eliminated. As Hamilton & Sinclair (1991: 385; cf. 381) have recommended, “challenge for cause” stating the reason for potential juror stand-asides is the only tool lawyers need to achieve jury makeup impartiality.

References Cited:

[Note: for ease of access to bibliographic references & to fix an apparently broken WordPress Endnotes function that mixed up the note numbers, I have provided this data in a separate PDF Boushie Case 2018 References Cited & Endnotes . Sadly, linking my Endnotes to the text of the above article is not possible.]

Abley, Mark. 2013. Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott. Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre [unpagenated excerpt available at  https://books.google.ca/books?id=xmyqBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT52&lpg=PT52&dq=John+A.+Macdonald+the+executions+of+the+Indians+ought+to+convince+the+Red+Man&source=bl&ots=Jy7vKKNDuG&sig=s0sIlQin0J4scg78RCCS3AxmCKI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj50sut4_nZAhXq5IMKHQJiCr8Q6AEIRzAF#v=onepage&q=John%20A.%20Macdonald%20the%20executions%20of%20the%20Indians%20ought%20to%20convince%20the%20Red%20Man&f=false (accessed 19 March 2018).

Anonymous. 1972. “Battleford Hangings.” Saskatchewan Indian July, Vol. 3, No. 7: 5 http://www.sicc.sk.ca/archive/saskindian/a72jul05.htm (accessed 27 March 2018).

Beal, Bob & Macleod, Rod. 1984. Prairie Fire: the 1885 North-West Campaign. Edmonton AB: Hurtig Publishers Ltd.

Brown, R. Blake. 2018. “Jury Selection and the Gerald Stanley decision.” ACTIVEHISTORY.CA posted February 16, 2018 http://activehistory.ca/2018/02/jury-selection/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Activehistoryca+%28ActiveHistory.ca%29 (accessed 26 February 2018).

Brown, R. Blake. 2009.  A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth-Century Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society.

Canadian Press Staff. 2018. “Justin Trudeau exonerates Tsilhqot’in chiefs hanged in 1864 ‘Chilcotin War’.” Global News Toronto posted March 26, 2018 3:15 pm https://globalnews.ca/news/4106290/justin-trudeau-exonerates-tsilhqotin-chiefs-hanged-in-1864-chilcotin-war/ (accessed 26 March 2018.

CBC Radio. 2018. “After Colten Boushie, where do we go from here?” Unreserved episode (38 minutes) broadcast on February 18, 2018 http://www.cbc.ca/radio/unreserved/after-colten-boushie-where-do-we-go-from-here-1.4535052 (accessed 5 March 2018).

CBC News Saskatoon. 2016. “Sask. politicians call for end to racism following Colten Boushie’s death.” CBC News posted August 14, 2016 Last Updated: August 14, 2016 9:05 PM CT http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/brad-wall-trent-wotherspoon-call-for-end-of-racist-sask-comments-1.3720774 (accessed 16 March 2018).

Cumming, Peter A. & Mickenberg, Neil H. ed. 1972. Native Rights in Canada Second Edition. Toronto: Indian-Eskimo Association of Canada & General Publishing Co. Limited.

Drinnon, Richard. 1980. Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire Building. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dunn, Willie. 1978. “I Pity the Country.” Original on Willie Dunn LP produced by Akwesasne Notes White Roots of Peace, Mohawk Nation, via Rooseveltown, NY, USA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRcWCD-7rb4 .

Fine, Sean. 2018. “Lawyers decry PM’s tweets on Stanley Trial.” Globe & Mail The Globe and Mail Inc. (CA) 20 January, p. A3 https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-ottawaquebec-edition/20180220/281556586303845 (accessed 5 March 2018).

Fontaine, Tim. 2016. “What did Justin Trudeau say about Canada’s history of colonialism? PM’s comments about colonialism spark ire online – but what did he actually say?” CBC News 22 April http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/trudeau-colonialism-comments-1.3549405  (accessed 15 July 2017).

Giles, David. 2018. “Poll finds Canadians divided over verdict in Colten Boushie case.” Global News posted 27 February 2018 (accessed 7 March 2018).

Goulet, George R.D. 1999. The Trial of Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied: A Critical, Legal, and Political Analysis. Toronto: Husion House,

Hamilton, Alvin C. & Sinclair, C. Murray. 1991. Manitoba Public Inquiry into the Administration of Justice and Aboriginal People. Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba Volume 1: The Justice system and Aboriginal People. Winnipeg: Province of Manitoba Queen’s Printer [See the AJI Recommendations on-line  at http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumel/recommendations.html (accessed 14 February 2018)].

Hamilton, Charles. 2018. “Crown won’t appeal not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley murder trial.” CBC News Saskatoon posted March 07, 2018  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/stanley-boushie-appeal-1.4565538 (accessed 7 March 2018).

Hopper, Tristin. 2018. “What really happened in the Chilcotin War, the 1864 conflict that just prompted an exoneration from Trudeau?” The National Post March 27, 2018 10:40 AM EDT http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/what-really-happened-in-the-chilcotin-war-the-1864-conflict-that-just-prompted-an-exoneration-from-trudeau (accessed 2 April 2018).

Iacobucci, Frank. 2013. First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries: Report of the Independent Review Conducted by The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, February 2013. Toronto: Ministry of the Attorney General https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/iacobucci/First_Nations_Representation_Ontario_Juries.html (accessed 14 February 2018).

Laucius, Joanne. 2017. “The meaning of reconciliation: ‘We’re not anywhere near that word called forward. We’re not even on the first syllable’.” Ottawa Citizen Last Updated: July 1, 2017 9:44 AM EDT http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/the-meaning-of-reconciliation (Accessed 20 March 2018).

Lugosi, Charles. 2018. “There’s no need for criticism. Canada’s jury system works.” Toronto Globe & Mail  p. A13 The Globe and Mail Inc. (CA) 20 February https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-ottawaquebec-edition/20180220/281745564864869  (accessed 20 March 2018).

Macdougall, Brenda. 2016. “After Boushie: It’s time for honest talk about racism in Saskatchewan.” The Globe and Mail Inc. (CA) published August 24, 2016, Updated March 24, 2017 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/after-boushie-its-time-for-honest-talk-about-racism-in-saskatchewan/article31537479/ (accessed 10 March 2018).

Malone, Kelly Geraldine. 2018.  “Indigenous youth say justice-system reforms are necessary to achieve reconciliation.” Toronto: thestar.com posted 5 March 2018 https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/03/05/indigenous-youth-say-justice-system-reforms-are-necessary-to-achieve-reconciliation.html (accessed 10 March 2018).

Markusoff, Jason. 2017. “Why Justin Trudeau used the c-word—’colonialism’—in his apology.” Maclean’s November 24, 2017 http://www.macleans.ca/politics/why-justin-trudeau-used-the-c-word-colonialism-in-his-apology/ (accessed 6 March 2018).

Morton, Desmond. 1972. The Last War Drum: The North West Campaign of 1885. Canadian War Museum Historical Publications Number 5. Toronto: Hakkert.

Ogg, Arden. 2015. “An infamous anniversary: 130 years since Canada’s Largest Mass Hanging 27 November 1885.” Cree Literacy Network posted on November 26, 2015 http://creeliteracy.org/2015/11/26/130th-anniversary-of-infamy-canadas-largest-mass-hanging-27-november-1885/ (accessed 22 March 2018).

Quenneville, Guy. 2018. “’Justice for Colten’: Hundreds gather for Boushie support rally in Saskatoon after Stanley not-guilty verdict. Other gatherings happening across Canada after farmer Gerald Stanley acquitted in Colten Boushie shooting.” CBC News Saskatoon Guy Quenneville, CBC News posted: Feb 10, 2018  Feb 10, 2018 7:00 PM CT http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/boushie-rallies-saskatoon-regina-stanley-not-guilty-verdic-1.4529956 (accessed 26 February 2018).

Richards, Liam. 2018. “Colten Boushie and beyond: A primer on the aftermath of Gerald Stanley’s acquittal.” The Globe and Mail Inc. (CA)Updated February 15, 2018 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/colten-boushie-gerald-stanley-explainer/article37938180/#stanley (accessed 7 March 2018).

[Ruden, Jonathan[18] et al]. 1996. Bridging the Cultural Divide: A Report on Aboriginal People and Criminal Justice in Canada. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/aboriginal-heritage/royal-commission-aboriginal-peoples/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=517 (accessed 12 March 2018).

Soloducha, Alex. 2018. “RCMP watchdog to examine handling of Colten Boushie shooting.” CBC News Saskatchewan posted: March 06, 2018, Last Updated: March 08, 2018 8:49 AM CT http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/boushie-rcmp-review-stanley-acquittal-1.4564245 (accessed 16 March 2018).

Tasker, John Paul. 2018a. “’We are truly sorry’: Trudeau exonerates Tsilhqot’in chiefs hanged in 1864.” CBC News posted March 26, 2018  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pm-trudeau-exonerate-tsilhqotin-chiefs-1.4593445 (accessed 2 March 2018).

Tasker, John Paul. 2018b. “Lawyers say post-Boushie justice reforms could actually make juries less diverse.” CBC News posted March 30, 2018. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/liberal-justice-reforms-jury-selection-1.4600007 (accessed 2 March 2018).

The Star Editorial Board. 2018. “Senator Lynn Beyak keeps on fighting the bad fight.” Toronto: thestar.com posted Mon., March 5, 2018 https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/03/05/senator-lynn-beyak-keeps-on-fighting-the-bad-fight.html (accessed 17 March 2018).

Thistle, Paul C. 2017. “Canada 150+ makes Indigenous history into serious public discussion (finally!).” Saskatchewan River Region Indian-European Trade Relations to 1840: Western Woods Cree History blog post 15 July 2017 https://indianeuropeantraderelations.wordpress.com/indian-european-trade-relations-in-the-lower-saskatchewan-river-region-to-1840-thistle-1986/blog/  (accessed 27 March 2018).

Thistle, Paul C. 1978. “G.F.G. Stanley: Eminent Theorist or Dated Ethnocentric?.” Unpublished paper prepared for a Native Studies course at the University of Manitoba under Professor Raoul McKay. Full text PDF including reference material is found at  Thistle 1978 GFG Stanley Eminent or Dated . To avoid the need for excessive scrolling, the Bibliography for this paper is also in the PDF Thistle 1978 GFG Stanley Eminent or Dated Bibliography .

Thistle, Paul C. 1973. “Trials of the Indian Participants in the North-West Rebellion of 1885.” Unpublished paper prepared for the Native Studies course Law and the Canadian Indian at Trent University under Professor Malcolm Montgomery. Full text PDF including reference material is found at Thistle 1973 Trials of Indian Participants in Resistance 1885 Endnotes & Bibliography . To avoid the need for excessive scrolling, the Bibliography and Endnotes for this paper are also in the PDF Thistle 1973 Trials of Indian Participants in Resistance 1885 Endnotes & Bibliography .

Thistle, Paul C. 1972. “Indian Involvement in the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Unpublished paper prepared for  a history directed reading course at the University of Waterloo under Professor E. Palmer Patterson II. Full text PDF including reference material is found at Thistle 1972 Indian Involvement in Northwest Rebellion 1885 . To avoid the need for excessive scrolling, the Bibliography for this paper is also in the PDF Thistle 1972 Indian Involvement in Northwest Rebellion 1885 Bibliography .

Van Kirk, Sylvia M. 2003. “KAPAPAMAHCHAKWEW,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 11, University of Toronto/Université Laval http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/kapapamahchakwew_11E.html (accessed March 22, 2018).

Warick, Jason. 2018. “The long list of problems Colten Boushie’s family says marred the case.” CBC News posted February 13, 2018 12:05 PM CT  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/colten-boushie-family-list-problems-gerald-stanley-case-1.4532214 (accessed 26 February 2018).

Welch, Mary Agnes. 2013. “25 years after the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry began, much of its promise has yet to be realized.” Winnipeg Free Press Last Modified: 09/14/2013 8:56 AM, https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/slow-road-to-justice-223729431.html (accessed 6 March 2018).

Whitehead, Charles (Reg. #1577). 1923. “A Day In Battleford In 1885.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans’ Association Vancouver Division – Maintaining the Esprit de Corps posted 15 August 2016, originally appearing in the 5th edition (1923) of the Vancouver Division – RCMP Veterans’ Association’s Scarlet & Gold Magazine found at http://www.rcmpveteransvancouver.com/a-day-in-battleford-in-1885/ (accessed 27 March 2018).

Wikimedia Commons. 2017. “File: Battleford Hangings – Bias of the Judge, Article from the Saskatchewan Herald, December 14th, 1885.jpg: Summary” https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battleford_Hangings_-_Bias_of_the_Judge,_Article_from_the_Saskatchewan_Herald,_December_14th,_1885.jpg  (accessed 26 March 2018).

Winward, Mike. 2018. “Letters: Justice also needs to be seen to be done.” The Globe and Mail Inc. (CA) February 21, 2018: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/letters/feb-21-justice-also-needs-to-be-seen-to-be-done-plus-other-letters-to-the-editor/article38038332/ .


[Unfortunately, WordPress mangled the order & numbering of the Endnotes for this article, making them unusable. I therefore provide a separate PDF of the References Cited & Endnotes to make this data accessible to readers. Sadly, I can produce no Endnotes linked to the text as a result. However, the References Cited links in the PDF operate as do those found above.]


5 thoughts on “Jury Colonialism 1885 – 2018

  1. Paul C. Thistle Post author

    More Breaking News, 6 March 2018:
    The excellent CBC Radio One programme Ideas will broadcast the following 2 episode sat 9:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday 11 April & Thursday 12 April 2018:

    Wednesday, April 11 – Thursday, April 12
    As the celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday fade, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy grows. This special episode of IDEAS puts Canada’s first Prime Minister on trial for “crimes against humanity”. Prosecuting Macdonald is renowned Métis lawyer, Jean Teillet, founder of the Métis Nation of Ontario, and the great-grandniece of Louis Riel. Defending him is award-winning criminal defence lawyer, Frank Addario, who is also Vice-President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The judge is The Honourable Ian Binnie, former Supreme Court Justice, described by the Toronto Star as “one of the strongest hands on the court”. The programs are based on a public recording at Queen’s University.

    These hour-long programmes can be heard live or via podcast at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas .


  2. Pingback: “Indian-Hating” & “Massive Injustice:” Historical Context 1885 – 2018 | Saskatchewan River Region Indian-European Trade Relations to 1840

  3. Paul C. Thistle Post author

    Regarding the Breaking News, 26 March 2018 section above:

    The Chilcotin (Tsilhqot’in) War of 1864 & the 6 hangings resulting now have been presented in a visual format.

    See the Graphic History Collective poster “The Tsilhqot’in War of 1864 Poster and Introduction by Gord Hill with Sean Carleton” at http://graphichistorycollective.com/project/poster-14-tsilhqotin-war-of-1864.

    The accompanying text states: “Five Tsilhqot’in leaders—Klatsassin, Piell, Tellot, Tahpit, and Chessus [& later Ahan]—arrived, they were taken prisoner and sentenced to death . . .[&] executed . . . During the show trial, Klatsassin declared that the Tsilhqot’in had waged war, “not murder.”


  4. Paul C. Thistle Post author

    Two new images have been added to this page by the author on 10 December 2018: i) an 1885 photograph of students gathered in front of the Battleford Industrial School & ii) another modern poster illustrating the mass hanging.



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